Washington - The Puerto Rican government, small businesses, health centers, and education institutions should have at least $10 billion available of the $12.8 billion in federal assistance to address this stage of the coronavirus emergency.
"This is the first crisis of this magnitude we have the money (to address it)," Resident Commissioner in Washington, Jenniffer González said yesterday before meeting with Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced and members of her cabinet to discuss the island government's access to federal funds.
Resident Commissioner González- who has recently pushed the governor to reopen school cafeterias and sent messages to remind her that she has funds available for other areas - said she wanted to know what was missing for government departments to make it possible that money “reaches the people."
Yesterday's meeting with Governor Vázquez Garced was their first face-to-face meeting in two months.
In the fiscal plan the Vazquez Garced's government proposed to the Oversight Board, the Fiscal Agency & Financial Advisory Authority (FAFAA) estimates that Puerto Rico will receive about $12.8 billion of the first stimulus packages approved to address this stage of the coronavirus crisis, which has caused at least 113 deaths in Puerto Rico and some 80,000 in the United States.
The fiscal plan estimates a $5.7 billion impact on the local economy between the last part of this fiscal year and fiscal years 2021 and 2022.
The Puerto Rico Treasury Department confirmed that the federal Treasury transferred $3 billion to distribute federal checks to individuals and families, which would guarantee about $1,200 to most citizens.
However, the process to distribute those checks - seven weeks after the CARES Act was signed into law - is still underway.
Besides, since April 22, the Puerto Rican government also has $2.24 billion of the fiscal stabilization fund for state and municipal governments allocated through the CARES Act, and those funds have not been used yet.
Labor Secretary Briseida Torres Reyes indicated that she received the money for federal unemployment assistance, which according to the fiscal plan filed by the Puerto Rican government, includes an additional $3.9 billion.
The Labor Department, however, had multiple problems and delays in distributing the $600 weekly federal unemployment assistance approved by Congress almost two months ago, March 18.
See below the most recent list of the funds allocated to the island as part of the federal government's response to this stage of the emergency.